Brain
on Food


Writing a blog is not an easy task but surely is addictive. To know what makes it addictive will be the centre of discussions of my blogs, covering a mix of neuroscience with marketing which is a nascent field and is an interesting one. If you too feel that way, I would appreciate your comments.

Today we will discuss why it is tough to choose. In this century given that we have plethora of choices for everything, sometimes we struggle to make the right choice and sometimes it comes intuitively. But why does it happen?

That can be answered, with the help of neuroscience. For instance, one fine morning you get up famished because of last night’s long drinking session. Too lazy to cook for yourself and aware of the fact that you can get your favourite food delivered. So you open the app on your Smartphone, and start drooling over the food choices you have. The craving for food gets triggered in your brain as soon as you feel hungry. Subconsciously you open your app, as it has become your habit. Habits are formed for lot of commodities both in virtual and physical space. What I mean is if our brain accepts some algorithm which we use every day for our convenience as we humans always have been in a quest for the same, it becomes a habit. Habit is a subconscious response to the algorithms. Putting it in a layman’s words, we get use to things because of repetitions.

How do the developers of the food app have you HOOKED? Basically, market researchers study your brain with instruments like EEG, FMRI to understand your behaviour when your brain is in a process of making a decision. Research shows that a human brain usually takes twelve seconds to reach a decision. So when you see an attractive opposite gender, it takes twelve seconds for you to decide if you’re going to spend the rest of your life with that person. Love at first sight!

Your brain goes under a cognitive load during those twelve seconds as you consciously analyse the whole situation.

 After a lot of experiments on mice, children, teenagers and old people neuroscientists have found about the cognitive load.  These loads build up when you use all three parts of your brain extensively. For instance, when you are solving a tough number problem, your concentration increases and your pupil expands. Your working memory is on full throttle during a cognitive load. Keeping this in mind, app developers make sure that your whole experience is smooth by reducing the cognitive load. Humans gain attention on things they are fond of and the same create memories by storing it in a specific part of your brain.

Now, how marketing comes to play a role in this?  Once the marketers figure out the factors associated with what a consumer think about a product, it’s easy to engage them. It becomes easy to build the brand in a consumer’s mind as you know which part of their brain is functioning. With Neuromarketing, marketers understand the consumer behaviour better. Hence to target consumers at the right time and place with the right message becomes more efficient and effective.

Now we know why we drool and how marketers are making it possible every time. So the next time you open a food app or go to a café you can resonate with the process taking place in your brain and what actually is triggering that process.